The Jenkins Experience

Written by: Ashley Hataway for 3EBLIFESTYLE.COM

I can so clearly remember the exact moment I crossed that tender threshold from feeling like a teenage girl, into feeling like a full-blown woman. I was between the ages of 12 and 13... those exciting years where you really begin to discover who you are in this weird, crazy, messed up world.  Amidst all of the surging hormones, angst, and family drama that is so typical of this age, there was also this awakening that happened inside of me, both sexually and emotionally.

Photo Credit: Donna Smits

MTV had debuted a music video for this song that was so incredibly catchy from the first chord that was played. With its "doot doot doot" repetition and pop-rock guitar sound, my attention was caught. Oh, but there's more...That face, those eyes, that mouth. Who was this man, and why was he so beautiful? I credit Stephan Jenkins for drop-kicking me into womanhood. Never had I ever had feelings like this before. As he would later say, "I bloomed like a rose".

Noah and Natalie Hataway with Stephan Jenkins Photo by Ashley Hataway

As the years would pass, I'd still be enamored with him...but I also would find a deep appreciation for the "man behind the mask," finding out that he battled certain afflictions that included a less-than-perfect home life, troubled relationships, and bouts of depression. All of these things spoke deeply to my soul. I felt so very spiritually connected to this person whom I'd never met, and would never really know on a personal level.  Knowing he suffered through some of the same personal struggles as I was living gave me some hope, somehow. I found solace in his lyrics, as he wrote many of my feelings and personal experiences...expressing them in a way that I never could. Twenty years later, and I still feel this way. And now, something even more special and amazing is happening. My children are also getting a taste of the Jenkins Experience, though (thankfully) quite different from my own.

Jenkins was the first rock star all three of my loves ever met, and he was more than generous and kind to them. My son, Noah, has idolized this man from the start. (To be honest, I didn't give him much of a choice, as "Motorcycle Drive By" was one of his first lullabies, and all 3 have been surrounded by Third Eye Blind's music for their whole little lives...) Stephan invited Noah and Natalie on stage before a show to check out the equipment, and asked all 3 of us on stage that night to sit on the side for part of the show. (Johnna was sitting this show out since she had already had her first one!) 

It's small gestures like this that have given my family such great memories, bonding time, and a deeper love for the man I feel that he is, or wants to be. I'm not exactly sure on that one. He's a bit of a beautiful mystery, that one. Regardless of any of that, Jenkins certainly has had a positive impact on myself and my family. With the overflowing charm, witty banter, and devious grin...he sucked us in completely and never let us go.